Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I hear music, music, music

Among the many challenges that I have on my plate, I really need to continue the work on my piece for Tangled Textiles.  The theme, MUSIC, was to have a reveal on November 30, but as you can see from the blog over there, it's been postponed till January 12th.

This gives me a bit more time to add some finishing touches to my piece.  In the meantime, you will have to be happy seeing a sneak peak.

I'm off to sing some more and see if I can stay in tune.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Rust, lines and another challenge

In a previous post, I mentioned that I had rusted some fabric.  I needed it to complete a challenge piece for the Silver Star Art group that I recently joined.  Here is what I did.
Well after thinking, turning and more thinking, I thought I might be able to use a portion of it.  I cut it in half and rotated the fabric clockwise, ending up with a piece that looked like this.
Remember I had to incorporate the design element "LINE" and use the rust dyed fabric in some way.  I vertically couched thread and wool, using the vertical rust dyed lines as a guide to incorporate line.
Then using Superior's Bottomline thread in black, I added a bit of thread sketching.  I still needed to add something so you could see what I was aiming for.  A few fussy cut leaves strategically placed did the trick.  Voila!!!  Here is the final piece.   
It measures 8" x 10" and will sit very nicely in my journal; the first of many journal quilts I hope.
Which brings me to the next challenge this group has been asked to produce.  At our meeting this last Tuesday we talked about SHAPE and TEXTURE, two additional design elements.  At the end of the meeting we were each given this.
Yup!  a copper scrubbie, and told to incorporate it into a piece demonstrating TEXTURE. to the drawing board, but if any of you have any suggestions how this can be put into a fibre art piece, speak up, 'cause I'm drawing a blank at the moment.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

A few different things

Since the last post, I have been working on a few different things.  For example, I recently learned about Kantha stitchery.  There are a number of images on the web so I won't bother to put some here. However, after a good tutorial and demo from Catherine Nicholls, here is a picture of my first attempt.
I used a variegated 12wt thread and rather like the effect of the colour changes.  It may be hard to see in the photo, but the idea was to create ridges that eventually create a dimensional design.  After a bit more practice, this was my second piece.

It may be a bit easier to see the patterning in this one.  What I found the most difficult was that the stitching of the pattern is worked from the outside in.  You had to pay very close attention to the tension and maintain the tension's consistency.  This will be a wonderful way to embellish small quilted gifts.

I have also finished up some small cross stitch pieces that will eventually end up as gifts for friends. 

They still need some pressing and dressing up, but won't they make lovely gifts?  With Christmas just around the corner, it's a good idea to finish up these small items.

I've also tried my hand at rust dyeing.  Some pieces turned out wonderfully, some not so much.  I used a ratio of 1:1 vinegar to water and let the fabrics soak for two days.  Perhaps next time a longer soaking period may help.
This first one was done with a chain.  I discovered too late that the chain, although it looked rusty, wasn't.  It was actually galvanized so it didn't produce the image I was hoping for.

This second one was done with rusted rebar.  You can see the imprint on the upper portion of the fabric where it was wrapped the closest to the rebar.

This last one was an impression created by a rusty wrench.  This one turned out the best.  Unfortunately the picture does not do it justice.  The colour is a more burnt golden that the brown-black you see here.

Now I'm off to use one of these pieces in a journal quilt for a challenge.  Let's see what I can come up with.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Paper and Stitch

This is how my cutting table looked the other day.

Every type of paper was piled there, the result of playing around with a paper and stitch technique I learned at a workshop with Catherine Nicholls.  Okay, I figured I might as well finish the bookmark that I started in the class.  Here is the end result along with a close up of the hand stitching.

I learned you have to be very careful where you place your stitch.  Unlike fabric, once the hole is in the paper, it's there to stay. 

Along with the bookmark, we were challenged to put together a concertina or accordion book incorporating what we had learned.  Okay here is what I started with; cardstock that was 3" wide and about 12" long, painted paper out of the pile you saw above; magazine clippings and of course thread.  I folded the cardstock so that it created space for 5 pages plus the front and back cover.  Like this:

I wanted to add some texture to the backs of the covers so I used some fancy coloured napkins and kinda smushed them around in the glue.  That got covered with a flower cut out of an old paper place mat.  It looks like this.

Picture isn't very clear, but you can see the texture I was trying to get.  I would have liked to get a better result but it works.  Then came the pages for the booklet.  I chose to include pictures of spring bulbs I had planted in the garden.

Each of the pages were backed with various quotes or phrases relating to spring, for example one read "Spring is nature's way of saying 'Let's party!' - Robin Williams" .  So in the end, this is what the little book looks like.
Front Cover
Opened out
Close up of some pages
There you have it.  Amazing what a little bit of paper, glue and stitchery can produce.  Now I'm off to clean up and try something else again.  Till the next time.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A design element - A line or two

"Design Elements", now there's a phrase that could strike fear in the hearts of a few quilt artists.  That is what our little art subgroup from the Guild decided would be the focus of our studies this year.  No, no we are not talking about the elements listed on a science periodic table.  We're talking about those little building blocks used to create some spectacular quilts.

The first "element" we discussed was "line".  Rather than define it here, you can read about it in Design Explorations for The Creative Quilter by Katie Pasquini Masopust, and The Visual Dance by Joen Wolfrom, to name a few.

Instead, below is what I found to complete our Guild art group's exercise representing "line";  show examples of vertical, diagonal, horizontal and curved lines.

I found examples in previous photos I had taken and armed with my trusty camera, I searched the neighbourhood for more examples, and came up with these:
These aspen tree trunks were a good example of vertical lines.
On close inspection of a mushroom picked out of the lawn, check out the lines of the cap.
These leafless branches, could be reproduced in stitching also representing line. 

Then of course there were these curved examples. 

And lastly here is the diagonal line I found. See the fencing along the driveway?
So where does all this fit into quilting?  Hmmm...I wondered that too.  I thought that "line" as a design element could be a thin doodle, a thick strong curve, or a jagged line.  It is when you consider the numerous lines used in free motion quilting.
However line can also be a visual orientation.  For example, if you want to portray the height of a tree, a tall rectangular orientation emphasizes the linear aspect of the tree rather than a square
What other examples of LINE can you come up with?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Borders and more borders

If you are stopping by during the Canadian Quilt Blogathon, welcome.  Take a breather, put your feet up and sit a spell.  Have a look around and when you are done, stop and visit some of the other Canadian quilt blogs here in British Columbia.  You've got the whole week.

It took a while, but I finally managed to cut up some fabric that I bought a number of years ago and made a start on a quilt that utilizes pieced borders to dress up the focus fabric.  Here is a picture was I mean.
The picture is not that great, but you get the idea don't you?  There are three blocks there.  From left to right, there is a Seminole border, a checkerboard border and a star border.  These will eventually join 7 other blocks and are set randomly into a quilt. 

Now I'm off to finish up some "Paper and Stitch" project for our "Group of Seven Stitchers".

Monday, November 11, 2013

Remembering our Veterans

On this special day of remembrance,

I wear a little poppy,
As red as red can be
To show that I remember
Those who fought for me.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Spring Remembrance

While reading a gardening magazine, I made an amazing discovery.  Yes I enjoy other pastimes besides patchwork.  Anyway, back to the gardening magazine.  I was looking for different bulbs that I could plant in order to have a riot of colour in the spring.  The following picture caught my eye.

Next to it was the following caption:

LEST WE FORGET:  Plant "Prinses Irene" tulips this Remembrance Day to honour Canadian veterans.  These vibrant orange flowers were created in the Netherlands to thank Canadian soldiers for their efforts in the Second World War.  Streaks of purple appear on the petals in the shape of the maple leaf. -- J.E. (cited from "Inspiring ideas for Everyday Living", November 2010, p 24)

What a wonderful way of remembering our veterans on days other than Remembrance Day.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Some new acquisitions

At my local Guild meeting there was an announcement that the LQS was closing its doors.  The lease had expired and the owner had leased the building to someone else.  Let me just say, isn't that a bit unfair? Isn't it good form to ask the current tenant if they wish to renew the lease?  But I digress.

As it turns out this means shopping at bargain basement prices.  The discounts being offered at the LQS started at 50% and went as high as 75%.  So I opened up my wallet, checked for disposable income and ended up coming home with these lovely goodies.

A Block of the Month series from Piece O' Cake Designs.  All 12 patterns were in the large plastic envelope.
Some wonderful reading material 
and some additional supplies for embroidery.

Great way to support the local economy, don't you think?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

How time flies...

when you are having fun.  Isn't that how the expression goes?  Working through my colour study course, I hadn't realized how much time had past since I last posted.  Despite being totally immersed in colour, I've had a wonderful time.  I now view colour in an entirely different light.  You saw exercises I did regarding value in a previous post and monoprinting.  Along with those we explored tints, tones, shades and various colour schemes.  Here are a couple of colour scheme examples from my sketchbook.
We experimented with colour proportion by examining pictures of nature and the world around us.   All in all it was a wonderful course, and all from the comfort of my home.  You can check out the various course offerings at the Gail Harker Center for Creative Arts, here.
I also had the opportunity to explore my new community and discovered a thriving quilt guild here.  Their website is here.  I joined this friendly group, was given a "new member" button, instructions to help me make the Guild's standard name tag and an invitation to get together with a member of long standing that would act as a "buddy".  Nice to meet you Nancy!  I managed to complete my name tag in time for the meeting tomorrow.  Here is what it looks like.
Oh and let's not forget that along with six others I have also been studying with Catherine Nicols, where we have been learning various different techniques to add to our artistic toolbox.  We've covered such things as the elements of designpointillism, and paper & stitch to enhance our work, and there is still more to come.  In the meantime, I'll leave you with a picture of one of the samples I created from Catherine's class.

Like I mentioned, time flies when you are having fun.  Till the next time, stitch creatively.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Unlocking the Muse for an Open Challenge

You may have been wondering what I’ve been up to since the last post.  On the other hand maybe not.  Nevertheless, today is reveal day over at the Tangled Textiles blog for the challenge theme OPEN.  That’s what I have been busy doing; working feverishly on my piece.  I was initially drawing a blank on where to go with this one. Various suggestions, such as OPEN mail, parcels, presents, OPEN doors, policy, and eyes wide OPEN; were not ringing any chimes for me, so to speak.

Okay out I went for a drive to the park, passed several homes, and an industrial park.  Sat on a bench for a while and came home passing that same industrial park.  This time however, I noticed a gate with a lock and thought to myself, "you'll need the right key to open that one."  Bing.  An idea was beginning to germinate.  I had painted some fabric that resembled an industrial park and posted about it.  Remember?  It looked like this.
If I cut it in half and use the lower half, it might work to represent a chain link fence.  Keys?  Will they work?  How will I portray them?  I remembered a stenciling technique I had seen done with Shiva paintsticks.  I also remembered a pointillist technique I had learned.  I found an image of an old key and went to work.  I also gathered up old keys around the house, traced them onto freezer paper, cut out the shape and pressed the resulting stencil to the fabric.  This just might work.

I went on a hunt through antique stores, thrift shops and found an old skeleton key and decided that I would do a rubbing.  I didn’t like the result, so I set the key aside. The piece needed some hand stitching along with the machine quilting to add what I thought would give it some depth. 

It still needed something else, but what?  I added just what an old key would need; keyholes.  Next, I added the keys.  Everyone needs THE RIGHT KEY to open something, don’t they?  There you have it.  I hope you enjoy my resulting challenge piece. 

Hop over to the Tangled Textiles blog to see what the others have produced.

Monday, August 19, 2013


One of the things I am discovering during my colour studies course is monoprinting.  I didn't really understand what it was, but as it turned out, I got a chance to try it.

It was simple really; don't know why I hadn't tried it before.  We usually have left over acrylic paints when we've completed our exercises, so the instructor gave very explicit instructions for what to do with left over paint.

Add sufficient water to the paints in such a way that they do not mix together very much and that they flow more easily than straight out of the bottle.  Press a blank sketchbook page onto the palette containing the left over paint; lift the paper and presto, a monoprint.  So here are some of the ones that I tried.  The paints I used were Golden Fluid Acrylics.

First attempt I had left over blue and yellow acrylic.

As you can see I added too much water and the paint mixed so much that you can't see the yellow at all.  It mixed with the blue and gave that greeny look.  There just a tiny hint of the yellow in the upper right hand corner.

Okay, so how about using no water at all.  This was my second attempt. 

Clearly you can see the colours that I used and there are a couple of spots where they mixed.  In case you're interested, the acrylics used were Golden Fluid Acrylics in Diarylide Yellow, Pyrrole Red, and Ultramarine Blue.  This one turned out okay, but now it was time to add some water. 

Very carefully I added just enough, I thought, to get some flow going.  What do you think?

I kinda like this one, but it was worth one more try because there was still sufficient paint left over, so here is the final attempt. 

This one is my favourite.  I've got to give this a try with fabric!!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Helping out

seems to be what quilters do best when there has been a tragedy.  What do I mean?  Quilters have put their skills and fabric "collections" to use providing comfort and caring after tragic events like the tsunami in Japan, the flooding after Hurricane Katrina, the flooding in Calgary, and many others too numerous to mention.

In one of my previous posts, Quiltingranny of Layers of Hope 911 left a comment asking if I would give a shout out.  She was in the throes of organizing a drive for quilts for 19 firefighters from one town that lost their lives fighting a wildfire in Arizona.   You can read about it here.  There is a video on her blog of those lost here.

Let me get to the point I'm trying to make.  Quiltingranny is asking for help to make 6.5 inch unfinished blocks that can be made into quilts for the families and survivors of the tragedy.  Check out her blog to see some of the other events that she has helped with (quilts for Calgary flood victims).

If you can make a block or two and are willing to send them to her, contact her directly.  Now I'm off to put together a few blocks myself and send them off.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Investigating colour

I have periodically had trouble recognizing differences in value.  Those differences are sometimes quite subtle.  Perhaps some of you have too.  For example, is red darker in value than blue; is blue darker in value than violet.

In a previous post I mentioned that I was taking an online course from the Gail Harker Center.  It is absolutely amazing what discoveries can be made when you play with a bit of paint and start mixing.

An exercise that we had to do for our studies involved creating a gray scale.  It will help with deciphering value of different colours. Here is the scale that I created.
I have nine values from white to black.  The holes punched in the scale will help when placed over a piece of fabric.  If the fabric is very similar in value to one of the scales, I will be able to determine the value of that fabric in comparison to another.  Something that will come in very handy when selecting fabrics for .... hmmm...let's say a Lone Star quilt.

Must get back to playing.  Till the next time.